By Blessings Mashaya
Plans by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to demonstrate against the recently introduced tax were thrown into disarray yesterday after police banned the protest saying government is still to contain the cholera outbreak.
In a statement yesterday, the police said last month’s ban on public gatherings still stands and ZCTU cannot be allowed to carry on with their planned protest.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to advise members of the public that the directive by the ministry of Local Government… to ban public gatherings in the Central Business District and other public areas still stands.
“Therefore, the organisers of the intended demonstrations by ZCTU and its affiliates should take note of the government’s directive particularly the movement of large numbers of people from one point to another which includes cholera epicentres.”
The police said the authorities are still making efforts to curb cholera.
“The on-going operation by local authorities and other stakeholders has indicated that the cholera outbreak is not yet over particularly in Harare.
“Members of the public are accordingly warned that if anything turns nasty those organising the demonstrations will be held responsible, especially with regards to the maintenance of law and order.”
They warned ZCTU leaders against causing anarchy in the country.
“The ZRP urges members of the public to continue observing peace and allow the security services and other stakeholders to ensure that there is security and order as the relevant authorities step up efforts to end cholera outbreak.
However, ZCTU president Peter Mutasa said they are considering taking the legal route to challenge the ban.
“Even in its statement, the ZRP has shown that it is aware that it does not have any legal basis to stop our demonstrations.
“It cannot hide behind the cholera matter either. Every day people are getting in and out of Harare and these are the same people we are calling on. There won’t be any eating as we are poor and cannot afford to prepare meals for the thousands. The attempt to use cholera is therefore completely irrational.”
“We, however, know that this statement is issued simply to threaten us and the public into submission.
“The police should also not be allowed to threaten citizens with unspecified action for exercising their rights to demonstrate and petition especially on such a serious matter affecting the public.”
The announcement of a new two cents tax per dollar transacted has seen prices of basic consumer goods increasing. DailyNews